By Stefanos Evripidou
FORMER foreign minister Marcos Kyprianou was invited to speak at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) this week in his capacity as a member of the High Level Advisory Panel on Sustainable Development.
The panel, appointed by UNGA President Vuk Jeremic last year, consists of a “distinguished group of people”, including Kyprianou and former foreign ministers of Spain, Indonesia, Morocco, Kuwait, Pakistan, Senegal and Chile.
Its task was to consider how countries can tackle global issues and overcome interconnected crises through cooperation.
Introducing the panel, Jeremic said: “Achieving sustainable development is the overriding challenge of the 21st century.”
The panel, led by renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs, presented a paper titled, ‘The UN in the Age of Sustainable Development’, on Monday during an informal meeting of the Assembly.
Kyprianou was acquitted in July by the Larnaca district court of charges related to the deaths of 13 people in the July 2011 Mari munitions blast.
The trial saw former defence minister Costas Papacostas sentenced to five years for manslaughter, and three senior firemen, Andreas Nicolaou, Charalambos Charalambous and Andreas Loizides, each given two years after being found guilty of causing death due to a reckless and dangerous act.
The other two defendants, Kyprianou and deputy National Guard commander Savvas Argyrou, were acquitted.
Attorney-general Petros Clerides, who officially leaves office this Sunday, has appealed the decision to acquit Kyprianou of the charge of causing death due to a reckless and dangerous act (Kyprianou also faced manslaughter charges), and appealed the decisions to acquit Loizides and Charalambous of manslaughter.
The munitions, confiscated in 2009 from a Cyprus-flagged ship sailing from Iran to Syria, had been stored at Evangelos Florakis base in 98 containers left exposed to the elements until the day of their explosion. The blast killed seven sailors and six firemen and damaged the island’s biggest power station.